8 down 12 to go

So the new treatment plan started on Monday.   2. 1/2 mins of ct scan then 20 mins of radiotherapy.This is less strong and better for me and will help my mobility. I have to say the first day was grulling. 20 mins really put me off and when I was finished I dragged myself off the bed straight upstairs to my room to lie down. I was not a happy bunny and it made my face hurt being pinned down for that long.

Today thought I woke up feeling ok, so I thought to myself its only 11 minutes longer. So for the 20 mins I lied there and hummed songs to help pass the time. Cant sing as well I can’t open mouth (probably a good thing) so that actually passed quick. Waited for my purple electric lights and then just a few minutes after I know I am done.   When I was finished I didn’t feel bad at all.  I have golf ball prints all over my face though which is quite funny.

Adam and I went off into town and found this restaurant that does ALL YOU CAN EAT for 4.90!  ALL YOU CAN EAT! That place was made for me.  So I ate ALL I COULD EAT and then we walked for about 1km and a half!  I’m so pleased with myself as my legs have started working again and I felt energized and happy.

So today is a good day for me. Its mind over matter.  But sometimes mind doesn’t work.  So I’m happy when it does.

Tomorrow is a new day. But I’m happy with today and that’s just excellent. 🙂

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Kicked its a#@e again!

So I am happy as happy can be as you can imagine.  Sitting in the waiting area listening to Creed of all things at 8am and reading a horror story book by Martina Cole is not the best way to relax but I have to say it kept the noise out.  My left armpit seems to be over compensating now my right armpit doesnt sweat and sweats for both of them.. not nice. But I was nervous.  So the doctor called me in and she said “Alethea, you can go home you are fine, the CT was clear which means you do not need treatment”  She also said I may have recurrence again in the same place and that they would treat it with special kind of radiotherapy next time if it does and that she will see me again in December for follow up.

I just wanted to whoop whoop all the way out the hospital but I think they would have locked me up in the crazy ward so I wated till I got in the car. And then I was yes yessing and whoop whooping and yihaing and everything. I’ve been acting silly all day. I’m knackered now lol I also got the all clear from my down there doctor. Enough said on that. 🙂

So I’ve had a busy week organising the event for tonight which I am really excited about. Looks like a great turn out and all for a great cause.

So everyone thank you again for reading and a big hug to all of you for your support..keep fighting. Remeber, healthy, whole and complete is the mantra you must say to yourself at least once day.

WHOOP WHOOP 🙂

20 down and treatment finished!

Yipeeeee I’m finished! I never imagined that it would go so quickly!

Everyone on the bus celebrated today and they even got me a card to wish me well. Its like we were all part of some summer holiday and even though each person leaving meant they are getting better we all will miss each other!

I am exhausted. Struggling to keep my eyes open as all that travelling and zapping has finally caught up with me.   My armpit is so red, so sore and the skin has cracked too so I cant really do much at all.    My doctor has recommended I take it easy for a while as it will take a while for me to heal. So no swimming or partying for me just yet..

He also confirmed I will not be needing chemotherapy! YAY!!  He said that chemo is only given to stage 4 metastatic melanomas and that I am stage 3. He said it was from my original melanoma on my back that it transferred to my lymph nodes.  He said I could choose to have interferon drugs however this would be over the period of a whole year and it will decrease my quality of life quite a lot so I will have to seriously consider this.   He also said I have a 50% chance of reacurrence too.  This is scary but I try too look at it as though my cup is half full as opposed to half empty!  I will be monitored every 3 months for a year, every six months for two years after that and then once a year for 10 years after that! He said melanoma is more likely to return in the same place where it appeared already which is why they treat it with radiotherapy as this reduces the chance of this happening by 40%.    He also said that I need to hold off having more kids for now. This is cause pregnancy reduces the immune system and if melanoma will come back its normally within 2-3 years.  I am never to go in the sun again.  I am to wear a hat and SPF 50 minimum and must keep my body covered with long sleeves especially my back that is covered with moles.  So no waltzing around in the sun for me.   This doesn’t mean Ill be wearing jumpers in the summer, it just means I’ll be extra careful from now on.   I think I will be investing on an SPF top from http://www.lioninthesun.com/ as they have adult sized ones too!

All in all he was very helpful and I am very very satisfied by the Bank of Cyprus Oncology unit as well as the Pasykaf in Paphos.

Thank you to all my friends on the bus, all my friends on facebook, my husband and family and to all of you who prayed for me and wished for me and thought of me these past few months. God bless you.

From melanoma free Alethea 🙂

Last week of treatment

Hooray! I cant believe its finally here! Two more days and I am finished.  I cant believe how quickly time has passed and I can finally stop getting up at stupid o clock in the morning! Cant beleive I’m still complaining about that! ha   Most of the people I met on the bus finish this month too and we are all going to have a get together and have a meal and some wine to celebrate!  What a fine idea!

How was your weekend? I spent mine with my family at the Polis campsite.  Its the coolest place to be in the middle of a heatwave, even if I did not go for a swim the entire time.  The salt will not give my armpit a desirable effect. So I just stayed in the shade and listened to all the noisy idiots play music and scream obscenities till about 4 in the morning in my tent.  So much for a restful weekend!

Side effects have well and truly kicked in now. My arm is constantly stiff from where the muscle has contracted and the nerves too so even my wrist hurts and the pain in the morning and then after treatment is very bad.  My scar has opened up every so slightly too.  I have to be so careful as were I had an allergy to the tape I now have a very thin layer of skin. Walking around half naked seems to be the only option at the moment.   But before you go picturing that, I have one of those strapless beach dresses that I am able to cover up my dignity with and leave my sore bits out! ha  I do look an untidy mess though ha

I am putting a list of questions to ask the melanoma and chemo therapist specialist on Wednesday morning, and was wondering if you have any suggestions? Here is what I have so far:

  1. Why did I get melanoma, is my case definitely sun related?
  2. Why did it come back when I got the all clear last year?
  3. What can I do to help prevent it from returning?
  4. What are the chances of it coming back in my case?
  5. Can I ever sunbathe or go out in the sun again or must I hide from the sun for ever?
  6. Can I use fake tanning booths or sprays?
  7. Do I have metastatic melanoma?
  8. Why am I not having chemotherapy or interferon injections?
  9. How often will I need to have a CT scan?
  10. I would like more children, how will this effect my follow up treatments?
  11. What happens if I am pregnant and melanoma comes back?
  12. Please specify the stage of which I am in.

I dont want to know the survival rate and stats etc as if we all lived by that we’d all be dead now! ha

Here are some before and after images of my armpit..  my bald armpit! But if you are undergoing radiotherapy don’t worry as each person is different, no one on my bus has had this as bad as me. Plus its worth it!

One fried armpit for takeaway please..

I will update you after I see the doctor..

Thank you all for your support and for following my progress.

Alethea

Sore armpit, sore bottom what ever next!

It was a long day today, more than normal. It seem to take ages to get seen by the radiotherapy unit girls after arriving at 9am lady B and I did not actually get zapped till after 11am! My poor coccyx which hasn’t been right since I had my son was screaming at me as those blue chairs aren’t exactly made for comfort but convenience!  Then I get upstairs only to find out that my bus left. Well its not MY bus but it was the early bus that I always get on.  So lady B and I and master W who stuck around just to wait for lady B waited at the clinic for a further 2 hours on the built for convenience blue chairs, thus I did not get home until nearly 4pm today. So my arse spent a total of 8 hours either sat on a hard chair or being jolted on the bus..

I saw the lady radiotherapist today, she is very sweet.  She has prescribed me some Bepanthol cream which is a type of moisturiser I think and movithiol cream which is a cortisone to help with the pain that and some paracetamol.  Unfortunately as time has passed I am getting increasingly more red and more sore.  Medicine is all given free at the oncology center which I think is very kind indeed.

I was talking to one of the chaps I share the bus with today, he has had prostate cancer and is having radiotherapy like me. Many more zaps than me too.  We were saying how we have to take off our tops and how we are red raw and he said he has to drop his bottoms each time.  I was embarassed that I had to show my boobs every day to a bunch of people I didn’t know and he has to show his crown jewels everyday to them instead!  I asked him “does this mean you have to get your knackers out everyday?!”  haha I’m such a classy lady aren’t I?! Thankfully he found my question amusing, well at least I hope you did if you are reading this! 🙂   So everyone, just when you think its embarrassing to see the doctor over anything think of all the men out there who have to drop their pants every day cause of prostate cancer. And chaps; do get yourselves checked, as with everything prevention is the key.  Having your crown jewels on show every day is not the worst thing that can happen to you but prostate cancer can be.

So I am hoping the cream will start working soon and I will start to feel less pain however the stiffness in my arm and wrist I will have to tackle with exercise..by lifting a glass of wine..  🙂  haha

Keep smiling.

Alethea x

9 down 11 to go

I am still side effect free. Yay! My armpit can be rather tender though especially where the scar is and I find lying on my right side more painful since the treatment. I am more stiff too.  But its a small price to pay for the work radiotherapy is doing.

I am positive about what lies ahead even if I need chemo and loose all my hair.  Because everything that they are doing to me is for me and to make me better and increase my chances of a long life so I can watch my son grow up, hopefully with another sibling and hopefully without any recurrence.

Not a day goes by that I don’t worry that this could come back and kill me. I wonder if I will live to see my son get married, I wonder if I will be able to have more children.  I wonder if one day it will come back in a place where I cant see or feel it until its too late.

Every day life for me is different now.  I focus on things that make me happy like writing this blog, updating my Parenting website and spending time with my family.     I have found support where I least expected it and had none where I thought I would.  Cancer has tought me a valuable lesson. To respect my body and take nothing for granted and appreciate life more.

Each day I get on the bus to me is step closer to being better.  We all talk about how and were we’ve been prodded each day, we joke about who gets to go first and generally laugh at me generally being the last one in and keeping everyone else waiting to go home.   Each day the study me so closely as I’m a difficult case. Trust me to be difficult eh!  They are so very precise and each time some poor girl has to squish my boobs together literally we laugh and then I thank them for the treatment they give me.   Everyone is so nice and friendly, my bus friends are quite funny and lady F and I generally make lots of noise which makes other people stare at us with disapproving eyes as perhaps they expect everyone to be gloomy and sad.

I have been gloomy devastated even when I first got the news. But after that I made sure that I didn’t let it control me and that what I have isn’t me, its just apart of me and although my life now revolves around being treated for melanoma they will come a time when all this will be behind me..

One day at a time, one bus ride at a time one zapping at a time.  I go to bed early most evenings so I’m never knackered in the mornings although it takes me time to actually oil my my facial muscles to smile first thing.  So poor hubby gets grumparse Alethea whilst everyone on the bus gets to see me awake and chirpy Alethea. By the time I get back its time to get my son from day care.  He is such a happy baby (gets it from me lol) I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself.  Time is passing quickly thank god.

This is something I wrote. Sorry if its cheesy. I write cheesy love poems too.. haha, but whatever floats my boat eh lol

I am strong, I am not weak
You will not beat me, I will not admit defeat
Surgeries and drains and whatever comes after
I will get through that with love faith and laughter
Tiredness and soreness you don’t scare me,
I am so much stronger than you, cant you see
You make me travel and go out of my way
I will travel the world to fight you any day
I do not underestimate you, nor take you for granted
But my life’s course you have merely slanted
So you have thrown at me a taste of what you’ve got
But I’m not taking it lying down I am facing you standing up
I have many on my side, who offer me support
and teams of doctors and its you they will deport
No matter what you throw at me and if I loose my hair
It will soon grow back, you will be gone, so there.
So stick em up cancer, I’m ready for the the fight
Here I am standing tall with my fists clenched tight
I am strong, I am not weak
You will not beat me, I will not admit defeat

Time

I realised that by the end of my radiotherapy treatment I would have traveled 3,888 kilometers, to receive a total of 1,400 seconds or 23 minutes of 6,000 monitor units of radiotherapy.   And it will take me a total of 80 hours on the bus out of a total of 120 hours give or take an hour from start to finish over a period of 20 days!  Talk about a lot of time for just 23 minutes of treatment.. lol of course if I received 23 minutes of treatment in 23 minutes I’d be toast.. literally.

However, things could be a lot worse. I have seen people so sick they are brought down in their hospital beds. I have seen people who are drinking that horrid CT scan water waiting for their CT scan. I’ve seen people with no hair, little hair, ones that can barely talk from throat cancer, ones that are in constant pain. New people, old people, young people. Or with one common goal, to beat cancer.   So no matter how bad my day is, there is always someone who has it worse. All I have to do is look around and thank god I am well enough to laugh and joke and pray for those who aren’t.

If you think you’re having a bad day
think of the man whose wife just passed away
50 years they’ve been together
Now she’s gone for ever.
If you think you’re having a bad day
think of  a soldiers wife,
looking after the kids alone
wondering if her husband is ever coming home.
Think of the hungry, the sick and the poor
or the ones that give up and just cant take anymore.
Think of the thousands around the world
who’ve been diagnosed with cancer
will we live long? will they find a cure?
who can give us the answer?
Throughout your life remember;
each day is a gift worth living
Be grateful for what is right now
And for what you are receiving
There’s always someone out there
who’s day is worse than yours
so be happy you are able to do your daily chores
Tell the ones you love I love you,
always kiss your kids goodnight
to thank your parents don’t forget
and live your life without regret.

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